So, it was on that particular weekend that I discovered the technical and musical delights of James Zabiela. I thought that one particular realisation was enough for me. But no, there was more to come and it would be in the guise of a young San Francisco resident. Rocking up to my friends’ house after a rather perfect musical adventure, I didn’t think there was much more for me to discover and leave me surprised. But a certain promo was played and that promo belonged to Christopher Lobsinger. And surprise took a backseat to awe.
Wow! That’s all I could mutter at the time. It’s not only that his promo was musically impressive but also that it was a few years old. Not only that, what ripped my head apart was when I found out that Christopher Lobsinger was only 14 years old at the time of creating that mix. Without question, what he had constructed was so musically mature in sound and technically, on par, if not better, than what some of the big name DJs were releasing through well-known series labels. While progressive in nature, his promo held a certain depth that I hadn’t heard for some time.
As a reviewer, I spend my free time listening to mixes, whether they are official releases from established names or promos from unknowns. Occasionally, I’m fortunate to find myself listening to something spectacular, as was the case with Christopher’s promo. His natural ability has already seen him open for many of the big guns, so much so that he’s tagged with some of the most respected names in the business. For me, he is definitely someone whose career I will follow and with the greatest pleasure because, while I’ve been impressed by his promos, I don’t think he’s hit his stride just yet. The future for this talented young DJ is a bright one. On the eve of a brilliant career and with bigger things expected, Christopher Lobsinger took some time to speak to Resident Advisor. Much respect.
I had the pleasure of hearing one of your earlier mixes a few weeks ago. It was a mix that you created when you were 14 years old which was on a few years ago. What struck me was not only the level of maturity that the mix generated but also your articulate choice of tracks. I was also amazed at your technical ability, which surpassed a lot of the bigger name DJs that I’ve seen in my time. By a long shot!! How did you become interested in electronic dance music in the first place?
I was exposed to EDM at a young age but really didn’t know what it was, my parents used to listen to Crystal Method, The Prodigy, and Chemical Brothers. When I was 13 my dad took me and my little brother to go see Crystal Method for his birthday. I think that was when I really got into EDM. I got into the DJ’s when I was exposed to the Global Underground series. I received GU-03 Nick Warren for my 14th birthday, still one of my favorites along with GU-06 Digweed & GU-09 Sasha
Given that you’re still relatively young, do you feel your age has restricted you in some way in terms of playing at certain clubs? Do you ever get anxious, maybe even disappointed that you have to wait until you’re 21 which I believe is the legal drinking age in the United States? Or do clubs make exceptions where a talented DJ is concerned?
In the US you can legally play at clubs when your 18 with the knowledge that you must leave after your performance. I have been lucky to play at some of the clubs I have played. They have made accommodations for my age and have allowed it because my dad is with me at all times and I leave after I play, which is fine with me. I tend to play the smaller clubs/lounges in San Francisco to keep it low key because of my age. I held my first residency when I was 15 at a small club in San Francisco called ANU where I have had the opportunity to play with Danny Howells, Hybrid, Josh Gabriel, and Nick Warren…. So I really don’t feel I’m missing a lot not playing all the clubs, if anything I have been spoiled by the great intimate crowds and the crowd interaction of a small club. Big “Thank You” goes out to Dahi & Brian, owners of ANU for giving me the chance to play at their club.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve already worked with some of the biggest names in the industry today. What have been some of you highlights?
That’s a hard one; each experience I have had to play with these great DJ’s has brought a different highlight. Playing my first boat party with Lee Burridge, tag teaming with Mike Truman of Hybrid at Anu, playing with Nick Warren and using his records, Amazing records!! But over all I think my best highlights have been to watch and learn from the best, I think that would be any aspiring dj’s dream.
Your interest in underground music began very early and judging by your bio, you had a great amount of support and encouragement from your parents, which is such a wonderful thing to have. What did your friends think of your decision to pursue a DJing career?
My friends were pretty much indifferent towards my decision to become a DJ. None of my friends listen to dance music so they really have no idea what I do when I play. It’s hard explaining it to them. Ha-ha
I can’t imagine you just being content with mastering the art of mixing. Do you have any plans to pursue the production side of music?
I’ve actually been producing for about eight months now. The first 2 tracks I produced “Choose Your Weapon” & “La Dolce Vita” are signed to Blu-room recordings. I also produce with my little brother, Nicolas -12yrs old, our first track we did together “Cline” is also signed to Blu-room. Release dates will be in September for “Cline”, November for “Choose Your Weapon” & “La Dolce Vita”.
I also have been working on a few remixes of some of my friends tracks- Dousk, Smight, Piece Process to name a few. I think producing music is where I really want to focus my talent in the future. There is really something special about seeing people’s reactions when I play a track that I made. Nicolas and I would also like to start live act. We both play keyboards and I play guitar which I would like to incorporate in an act. We are working on it.
San Francisco’s Spundae is one of the most respected names in clubbing today. Some of the DJs that have played there include the likes of Sasha and Cass, to name a couple. There are DJs that would give their right arm to have an association with them, which is exactly what you have. What’s your connection with Spundae, in particular, its resident, Gianni?
Gianni was the first person to take an interest in me and help me out. He actually gave me my first stack of records to practice. Gianni believed in me from the beginning when I gave him my first recorded set. He also introduced me to all the great people at Spundae-Guiv, Peter, Torsten, Jonathan Ojeda, Matt & Jessica….Hopefully one day I will have the opportunity to be a resident for Spundae.
Having achieved so much already, you also have a popular monthly show on Proton Radio, which is San Francisco Sessions. How did that come about and what do you hope to achieve with the show?
I can’t begin to express my appreciation to Sam Packer & Proton radio crew for giving me a chance. Sam has believed in me and stood by me from the beginning. Sam was the one who contacted us when my dad posted for the first time on the GU forum to say a little about me. At that time I had been DJing for 5 months, Sam asked me to send him a couple of my mixes so he could hear what I was doing. Well I guess he liked them and he played them on Proton. After that he asked me to do a special 2 hour mix for a Featured Artist show which was to air on September 4th. Shortly after the FA played, Sam offered me my own show on Proton Radio, which I called “San Francisco Sessions”
With the show I hope to expose a lot of great up and coming DJ/producers and give people the same opportunity that Sam & Proton Radio gave me. It’s really rare that you will find someone willing to give a kid a chance to live out a dream. Thanks to Sam and all the great people at Proton Radio for taking a chance with me. Proton Rules!!
A lot of DJs today are incorporating various aspects of technology to enhance their overall sound in live sets, whether they use CD decks, Final Scratch or an FX box. Are there any elements that you would like to incorporate into your sets? Is there technology that hasn’t yet been created, that you would like to see developed in the future?
I had the opportunity to go to the NAMM show this year in Anaheim, CA. I got to see all the new toys that are coming out to incorporate in a live show. Right now I still keep it fairly simple when I play- 2 –Pioneer CDJ1000’s, 2- Technic1200’s and an Allen & Heath Xone: 92. A good friend of mine, Nick McGeachin introduces me to the guys from Allen & Heath, so I had the chance to play for 2 days at The NAMM on the Xone series. I think the new Xone: 92 mixer is the best thing I have incorporated in my sets. With the Midi hook ups on the Xone: 92 I’m going to use the Kaoss pad to get a lot more creative with my sets and possibly in the future try other external devices like drum pads, keyboards or guitar to add to my sets. It’s really an amazing mixer! As far as final scratch or Ableton live and program like that , possibly in the future, but now I’m still new to all this and want to master the art of mixing.
Music obviously is a large influence in your life, what other things inspire you?
The biggest influence in my life besides music is my family. Its never a boring moment in my family with 6 people- my parents: Phil and Kirsten, brother: Nicolas (12) and 2 sisters: Anastasia (8) & Katerina (6), 2 German shepherds plus 7 puppies (born 16th of June) , 3 cats, and a Tarantula. What more inspiration does a person need? My best memories are the road trips my parents like to take us on every weekend to see all the beautiful places around California.
The term ‘progressive’, as a genre of dance music, sparks a lot of debate amongst fans, especially on various message boards around the world. It either brings out the best or the worst in people. What elements do you, as a DJ, like or dislike about it?
I like progressive because it can incorporate a little bit from every genre. I like the melodies that are incorporated into the music. Probably my favorite part of electronic music in general is the melodies used in the music. Progressive music tends to have a lot of beautiful melodies to it that give it an emotion effect on you. Progressive takes you on a journey. It slowly builds throughout the course of a set leading to a wild, emotional peak. A rollercoaster ride of beautiful music, with lots of highs and lows and wild turns.
If there was one DJ that you regard as a role model in terms of personality, professionalism and technical ability, who would that be? Why?
The one DJ who I hold as my role model is Lee Burridge. He has a great personality and he is very down to earth, and very funny. When he’s DJing, he doesn’t mess around at all. His sets flow perfectly, and his mixes go seamlessly together. He keeps it fun all night and the crowd responds by dancing till they drop. I hope to achieve that someday as well.
Who are some of your current favourite producers? Famous or unknown.
My favorite producers at the moment are Dousk, Subsky, Peter Martin, Murat Uncuoglu, Piece Process, Alican & Soner, Matthew Dekay, Blueroom Project, Damien Heck, Bart Van Wissen, Darius & Stealthy, Damian DP, Jose Zamorra….. There’s just too many to name. There’s a lot of great music coming out right now. A lot of new and unknown artist surfacing with truly great music, those are the guys I try and push their sound the most.
What are your current top 5 tunes?
My current top 5 tunes in no particular order:
Miss Kittin-Professional Distortion (Subsky-in your face remix)[unsigned]
Peter Martin- Speak and Spell House [unsigned]
Big Al – Moody (Miracleworkz remix)[unknown]
Bart Van Wissen - Unforeseen [Private Reality]
Mitch Wells - Where I (Chris & Kai vs. Levin mix) [DK records]
Finally, time for a tedious question, where do you hope to find yourself in 10 years time? Still DJing? Or producing? Promoting? Managing a label? Or all of the above?
I’m still really young so it’s hard to say what I will be doing 10 yrs from now. Right now I’m just having fun DJing and producing music. I guess we shall see, it’s been a fun ride so far. :)